Friday, December 18, 2009

Four New Small Paintings

3 x 4 inches
Oil On Canvas

Josh In The Studio
12 x 12 inches
Oil On Panel

Study Of James K.and 
Study Of James K. # 2
10 x 12 inches each
Oil On Canvas

Monday, November 30, 2009

New Things

Just remember to breathe!

Dear Enraptured Readers:

I'm not dead. In fact, I seem to be becoming quite recovered from my recent illness. Thanks to family and friends who helped me out!

The studio is full of canvasses - some in the process of being covered with real live paintings, others just waiting for me to buy some more gesso and get them finally prepared enough to work on, others sagging miserably at the corners. Looks like I didn't stretch them quite properly, and with a little time and humidity, they're drooping like undies on a line. It's dispiriting.

I'd lost my taste for sketching since about 2004 - I don't know if it's coming back. As I've said, I've been becoming too computer-dependent for the purposes of assembling the work. Without drawing with only my mind and hand, I was relying on the machine to bring up "chance" meetings - collage-style - of photographs I thought I might want to use, and that might work out into something fantastic when brought together onscreen. But, nope.
I try to motivate myself to draw from life. Vanity is a great blocker of achievement - I don't like doing things imperfectly, and my life drawing look crude and too imperfect. Impatience.

You can't rely just on chance to produce meanings. In throwing stuff together sometimes there were some nice collisions of images, but mostly it was all too empty. I was working too ass-backwards - and a bit desperately, I suppose. You can't rely on external things to provide the inspirational glue - the idea that will motivate and inform a work. No many how many things you pile up, you have to do that yourself.

I've always believed the gestures of the body are really important to art - how they give real individuality to the finished work. Running dead set against this, is how I percieved - and trained myself up in - what I call the 'imperial' tradition of oil paintings, which being usually made for those in power, tended to impersonality and a kind of grandeur that is somewhat removed from regular human considerations - and intimacies. Out of this conflict comes...well, some stuff I'm still dealing with.

In some ways, the computer can be a seductively powerful tool. On the other hand, in what I fear what might form the nature of a truly personal and integral art, I suspect the computer may have very little to do with it.
I'm on the damn thing a lot, though.

So - I'm trying to sketch more. The sketches look so far removed from what I've considered my good finished products that I'm a turned off.
Still, they're full of troublesome skirmishes with vexed men fighting dubious angelic-looking creatures. I wonder wot's up?

Some pics and such soon.


Saturday, November 21, 2009


Dear Enraptured Readers:

Right there, above, is a picture representation of that lil' virus that has made my life so miserable this last week and a half. It wasn't just debilitating to have on its very own, though - No!
No, I came down with the flu's despair-and-worry inducing symptoms on the very same eve of the day I had some minor surgery on my back.
This was not comfortable. This was not nice. The bloodletting was formidable. Every time I coughed, the my isolation room looked like a Sam Peckinpah movie.

All in all, November was a great month for losing blood. I gave about twenty vials away in the first week (one half for research, the other half, nobly, to science), and about what seemed like half my liquid body weight in the second half. I wonder if this will benefit me in any of the olde ways that bloodletting used to claim? I think I have gained a somewhat otherworldly, delicate pallor.

Thanks to all the staff of Toronto General Hospital who did such a good job of saving my tattered existence. I'm furious, though, that while I was in duress, the staff did an unsigned for lumbar puncture, and an awkward one at that. F^%k.
My back's still aching. Better than from being laid in a pine box, but...still!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Crazy Time (In A Good Way)

Dear Enraptured Readers:

Not much is happening above ground that's evident, but up in my sky-high studio in the clouds, a great deal is going on.

I've been scooting around town on my bicycle, carting home all sorts of found goodies on it's ample side-carriers, and making fun home-made stage sets with them. I think I've got half the Leslie Spit's cast off metal junk in storage back home at the moment. Twigs, rocks, metal, fragments of this and that, tubing, glass, name it, it's probably lurking somewhere around the place. Cycling around, clanking and grumbling, I think I'm starting to look more and more like one of those crazy old coots one sees about, weathered by the vicissitudes of fate, doing an imaginarily brisk rag and bone trade.
All these things I'm piling up, tying and ragging together, arranging and re-arranging (whilst cursing and sweating) into nifty and provocative 'settings' that I'm photographing and sketching. These should form a kind of framework that's intriguing and evocative, neither background or foreground, into which I can work all sorts of other pictorial elements. At least in theory. Well, we'll see how this goes.

It's all a lot more hands-on, creative and meaty than the kind of computer-dependent photo-collaging I really starting kicking with, in 2003 and 2004. At the time, that had a real sense of digging into something meaningful for me, and was an evocative and flexible tool. By 2005, though, that had already gotten a bit more uncreative and worn- or at least I had. I was distracted by distressing woes, and got too dependent on technical distractions to carry the weight of the work. Uh-oh.
In the few years since then, I've been veering around a bit, trying this and that, trying to find that visceral sense of newly creating again. Not without some merit - I think the architectural ("shrub") paintings, were a necessary search, and that a lot of the still lifes turned out quite nicely. And the last show felt like I was getting back on the saddle.

So - yes! I'm building all sorts of funny things around the house, and photographing them like mad. Wish me luck.

It's interesting feeling a lot of walls dissolving - sketching, photographing, designing, inventing, re-photographing, mashing stuff together....a lot of hands-on, unexpected and intimate weirdness. This is bringing up new possibilities to access, or get near the kind of prescient ambiguity needed to show some of the heavy stuff I'm trying to deal with, with all this - grief, loss, trauma.

For whatever reason, I've found that whenever I've tried to take a break and swerve from this - well, darkness is the first word that comes to mind - the work flattens out.
I don't know if this is because of something I've been through, personally, or an external set of metaphors I work best with expressing feelings and intensity through. I don't know if it's because society needs a certain set of symbols at any given time to understand what's in a work, and artists reflexively work with those setups whether they're personal to them or not - though sometimes artists may internalize and believe they 'are' those things. I do not know.
Whatever the case, I have to keep myself directed toward the ambiguous and difficult, or else I seem to lapse into a terrible superciliousness.

Another thing I'm interested in right now is the feminine in my work - and - well, that's a whole other blog post.

In almost unrelated news, I had my first ever acupuncture, and first-ever chiropractic appointment as well. Both, I can say, have been marvellous. Not uninspirational! Ain't that grand?

More soon....

Saturday, October 17, 2009

2b Magazine Article

Thanks to 2b Magazine from Montreal which did a nifty and well-laid out article about my show. Aside from me saying manically overlongish quotes, there are reproductions of the Cold, The Disc Jockey, The Conversation and Knock Yourself Out paintings. Thanks fellas!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Saturday, October 10, 2009

In The Interim


Dear Enraptured Readers:

I have to admit, this blog is hardly turning out to be a 'page turner', as they'd say in former days. Maybe a page scroller?. I haven't been reporting too much, because, well, really there hasn't been much overt to report.

I don't like typing about too many private things in public. I find this to be crucial to the work - if it is to be meaningful work, I've got to spend time not talking about it. It has to be nurtured silently.
This makes for a bit of a shortage of day to day items to type about.  I do like talking about things that go into concretely making up the paintings. But even this has to be done at intervals let all the quietly felt creative feeling that starts of a work gets frizzled up and away into conversation.

So - at least...well, here's what's up right now.

The show in Ottawa at La Petite Mort has closed, though Guy still has works of mine on hand. Thanks to everyone who cared enough to come out and see the show, and to those who bought work. That really is a tremendous support, and means a lot.

This means I'm going to have to get painting whole hog again - I've just had a few week's dawdle!

I've been discovering I'm hideous with deadlines though. I can hardly be said to have officially made it in under the wire for this last show with Guy - he was quite patient about it, bless.
I used to be good at deadlines, though. So what's up?
Well, the answers could probably go on forever. So, instead of trying to fuss and force myself into some unseemly contortions inventing new deadlines and striving to live up to them, I've decided to more or less just do away with dire deadlines for the foreseeable future.

I've catalogued all the frames, boards and canvas thingadoodles in my studio by name, type, number and size, and begun stretching frames in earnest. Thats about forty paintable surfaces.
The plan is to get the studio full of gorgeously stretched, gessosed and ready-to-paint gems that vertitably cry "Paint Me, James!".
Then , in a more relaxed mood...I shall let the oils, results, types and inspirations fall where they may.

Right now I'm painting some scenic traditional landscapes, actually. They're wonderfully relaxing.

Anyway, there's a bit of catch-up.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

R & R...& Rrrrt.

Some views of my new show currently hanging up at La Petite Mort Gallery, "An Orgy Of Divergent Errors".

Dear Enraptured Readers:

Wonderful! - to have the pressures of getting ready for an opening lifted.

One of the strangest things to get used to in getting ready for this show opening was discovering that my 'working rhythms' are different than they were even a couple years ago. I'm more mistrustful of my impulsiveness, more certain about the way I can generally proceed, and, strangely, more willing to take some big unusual risks.

The biggest thing, however, was finding out that I'm working more slowly, and cautiously.

Finding I was working more slowly isn't a bad thing at all, but it did put the pressure on when the deadline for all the work was due, and I found I was suddenly behind in production. Happily, I had paced myself more steadily in preparation for this show, and the work was more modest and reasonable in size and necessary effort.

I've gotten bad with deadlines in the last few years, and had been overextending myself. Too much partying, back there. Bad scene. Yikes. Bad promises, and too much blind overreaching.
Being able to deliver on this show was a restorative pleasure. Guy Berube up at La Petite Mort had to kick my butt a tad to get me mobile and on date, but it all worked out to a good show opening.

Guy hung the show really well, and the opening night crowd wasn't horribly busy, and everyone was really enthusiastic. Happily we sold a solid number of pieces, which will go a long way towards alleviating my long-suffering grocery needs.

Thanks to everyone who showed up, and all your support. Special thanks to Guy, too for putting in such a solid effort.

With the pressure of deadlines lifted, ideas for new pieces are beginning to form. That's a wonderful feeling. No hurry on these, though - I'm taking my time.
I want to do this next bunch right. I have an immensely soothing feeling something special's a-comin' up.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

2 More Painting For The Show.

Dear Enraptured Readers:

When it comes to deadlines, I'm no angel. After throwing up my hands and thinking there was no way I could deliver on the two grand, experimental paintings for the show that I seemed incapable of actually finishing...Wham! Suddenly, two more little portraits sprung up to take their place.

It seems even my creative urge has a perverse and obstinate streak. Oh well. Whatcha gonna do, except exclaim when it works?
Below are the two portraits:

Oil On Canvas
6 x 8 inches

Oil on Canvas
6 x 8 inches

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

James Huctwith 2009 New Show

Temporary Monument
30 x 40 inches
Oil on Canvas

I have a new show of my work coming up on 4th of September, 2009. It's at:

Galerie La Petite Mort Gallery.
7 until 10 pm.
306 Cumberland Street
Ottawa, Ontario.
613 - 860 - 1555

The show is called "An Orgy Of Divergent Errors", and has something for the whole family.

Attached are a pictures of ten new paintings from the show:

User With Gear
15 x 22 inches
Oil on gessoed plywood panel.

The Precise Contents
15 x 22 inches
Oil on gessoed plywood panel.

The Disc-Jockey
15 x 22 inches
Oil on gessoed plywood panel.

Knock Yourself Out
15 x 22 inches
Oil on gessoed and scarred plywood panel.

Portrait Of A Man Leaving A Hospital
15 x 22 inches
Oil on gessoed, carved plywood panel, with mixed media overlay.

Fetish Sales
12 x 12 inches
Oil on gessoed mounted wooden panel.

Laid On Scars
16 x 16 inches
Oil on canvas.

Absence One And Two On Mean
22 x 30 inches.
Oil on gessoed canvas, mounted on hammered plywood panel, with metal, canvas and paint overlay.

Hard Slam
15 x 22 inches
Oil on gessoed, burned, hammered, scored and carved plywood panel, with found metal objects and oil painting overlay.


Welcome - To The Living Tableau.


This is a blog by the artist/painter James Huctwith. That's me, in the pic above. Or a well-lit, flattering representation!

I had a blog online until earlier this year called "Dainty Bastard". I took it offline because I was doing more writing about working, than doing the actual work. It was fun, but a too much of a distraction.

I don't expect this blog will be as "everyday" as the last one was, but there will be news. Every now and thent it should be a proper outlet for those moods and notions that only find appropriate expression being offhandedly typed for public perusal.
I hope you enjoy it. Or are at least bemused. Or whatever might benefit.